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Two of this year's articles have a strong historical slant. Alastair Vannan considers the ballad 'The Death of Queen Jane' (Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII), to investigate how songs about the past can be used as historical sources providing insights into past attitudes and understandings; and, conversely, how what is known about the actual historical event can be used to illuminate the ballads and the ideas they express, including their use as propaganda. Paul Dennant sets the 'Black Joke' series of tunes, songs, and dances, in its eighteenth-century context, confirming their associations with lewdness and also their very wide popularity. C. J. Bearman's note on the Folk-Song Society and the chronology of the use of the phonograph seeks to set the record straight on this contentious subject.

The article by Vic Gammon and Emily Portman is a historical inquiry of a rather different kind, tracing the emergence of five-time in English folk songs and asking the question whether it is a real phenomenon or an artefact of the collecting process. It seems altogether appropriate that a study of possible bias in the reporting of folk song traditions should appear at much the same time as Dave Arthur's long-awaited biography of A. L. (Bert) Lloyd, reviewed here. A number of other books about important figures from the folk revivals are likewise reviewed, including Dorothy de Val's biography of Lucy Broadwood and Simona Pakenham's life of Maud Karpeles. All are figures who have been closely associated with the history of this journal.

Also reviewed, among others, are the eagerly awaited New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, published in association with the EFDSS; and Christopher Marsh's Music and Society in Early Modern England, which looks set to be for quite some time the definitive account of the early history of our subject. However, perhaps the most remarkable thing this year is the sheer volume and exceptional quality of CD issues featuring older singers and performers, including the new Voice of the People CDs, that have appeared during the past twelve months. Long may this trend continue.

We do have a couple of obituaries, but it is also appropriate to acknowledge the passing of two distinguished scholarly figures: Alexander 'Sandy' Fenton (1929-2012), ethnologist and champion of vernacular culture, founder of the European Ethnological Research Centre and the Review of Scottish Culture, and director of the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland; and John Miles Foley (1947-2012), scholar of comparative literature and founder of the journal Oral Tradition, whose work with ancient Greek, Old English, and South Slavic literatures has done much to advance the Parry--Lord theory of oral literature.



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Article Details
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Author:Atkinson, David
Publication:Folk Music Journal
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jan 1, 2013
Previous Article:Two Bampton morris dancers: Colin Bathe and David John Titchener.
Next Article:The 'barbarous old English jig': the 'Black Joke' in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

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